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presidential address
1. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 76
Patrick L. Bourgeois Philosophy at the Boundary of Reason: A Call for a Catholic Philosophical Pluralistic Community
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The thesis of this paper, that the contemporary Catholic philosopher needs to be critical in an expanded Kantian sense of the boundary of reason, while still maintaining a strict biblical and Christian faith, is developed in four parts. First, the nature of a Catholic philosophical pluralistic community will be explored. In keeping with this pluralism, a first sense of boundary as that between philosophical reason and Christian faith will be considered. Then, a second sense of boundary as the Kantian context of critical philosophy in which reason sets the limit on the human claims to objective knowledge will be considered. A twofold expansion of this Kantian sense of the boundary-limit of reason is seen to be necessary. Finally, part four focuses on the place of Catholic faith for such a philosopher, suggests ways to overcome certain extremes, and proposes a possible path for thinking the Transcendent.
presentation of the aquinas medal
2. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 76
John J. Drummond Presentation of the Aquinas Medal to Robert Sokolowski
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aquinas medalist's address
3. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 76
Robert Sokolowski Language, the Human Person, and Christian Faith
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plenary sessions
4. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 76
Jean-Luc Marion, Arianne Conty The Unspoken: Apophasis and the Discourse of Love
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That which we call “negative theology” inspires within us both fascination and unease. We can either challenge all “negative theology” as a language game that is both impractical and contradictory, as many contemporaries do, or we can explore the question in light of the recent arguments of Derrida. The primary thesis in this paper is that we should reject “negative theology” as a descriptor and replace it, following the nomenclature of the Dionysian corpus, with “mystical theology.” In doing this, we will come to realize that “mystical theology” no longer has the ambition to make constative use of language; its ambition is rather to be freed from such use. Thus, we move from a constative (and predicative) use of language toward a strictly pragmatic usage. This movement has yet to be proved, and what follows is an attempt to do just that.
5. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 76
James L. Marsh Justice, Difference, and the Possibility of Metaphysics: Towards a North American Philosophy of Liberation
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What happened in New York City on September 11, 2001, creates an urgent need for a turn to practical reason, to ethics, to critique, and to a radical,transformative theory and praxis. Contemplation, speculation, pure theory, and contemplative metaphysics in philosophy, while necessary and valuable, are notsufficient in dealing with such an infamous crime against humanity. The central idea running through this paper and much of my work is that there is an essentiallink between rationality and radicalism. The aim of this paper is to explore this link in an argument sketched in three parts: self-appropriation as the pearl of great price in philosophy; a critical theory of society; and a metaphysics and philosophy of religion that are both contemplative and political — a threefold radicality, if you like. This argument seeks to show negatively how the postmodern critique of rationality misfires, and positively how a post-imperial phenomenology, critical theory, and metaphysics/philosophy of religion can do justice to and recognize difference and the otherness of nature, other human beings (especially the exploited and marginalized), being itself, and God.Because in Vietnam the vision of a burning Babeis multiplied, multiplied, the flesh on firenot Christ’s, as Southwell saw it, prefiguringthe Passion upon the Eve of Christmas,but wholly human and repeated, repeated,infant after infant, their names forgotten,their sex unknown in the ashesset alight, flaming but not vanishingnot vanishing as his vision but lingering,cinders upon the earth or living onmoaning and stinking in hospitals three abed;because of this my strong sight,my clear caressive sight, my poet’s sight I was giventhat it might stir me to songis blurredWhy do men then not wreck his rod?Generations have trod, have trod, have trodAnd all is seared with trade, bleared, smeared with toilAnd wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell, the soilIs bare now, nor can foot feel, being
6. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 76
Adriaan Peperzak The Catholicity of a Catholic Philosopher
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This paper explores the mode of thinking that should characterize philosophers who happen to be Catholic or Catholics who also are philosophers. How does and how should a “Catholic philosopher” relate to the human — i.e., the earthly, interpersonal, social, religious, historical — world in which he or she practices what, for more than 2,500 years and notwithstanding several transformations, has been called “philosophy”? In trying to prepare an answer to this question, this paper focusses on the universality or Catholicity of the truth that orients and dominates the philosophical search, but without ignoring the fact that at least certain aspects of that same truth are also sought along non-philosophical paths.
session 1
7. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 76
Bernardo J. Canteñs Peirce and the Spontaneous Conjectures of Instinctive Reason: A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God
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In this paper, I will analyze Charles S. Peirce’s “A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God.” I want to argue for two conclusions: 1) that Peirce’s conception of spontaneous conjectures of instinctive reason allows for a rationally justified belief in the reality of God; and 2) that this belief is not the result of a sound argument or even a complete argument and thus is not a secure belief. This paper is divided into three parts. First, I will explain some Peircean philosophical notions that are essential background information for a genuine understanding of the neglected argument. Second, I will present a sketch of Peirce’s three stages of inquiry and explain each stage’s relevance to the neglected argument. Finally, I will analyze Peirce’s first stage of inquiry, also known as the humble argument for the reality of God, and show how this incomplete argument can provide a rationally justified belief in the reality of God.
8. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 76
Myron A. Penner The Quest for Natural Attitudes within Ontological Limits
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In “The Natural Ontological Attitude,” Arthur Fine attempts to provide a way out of the realist/antirealist dichotomy in philosophy of science. Says Fine, the natural way of treating the ontological status of theoretical entities is not to form speculative metaphysical theories, be they realist or antirealist, but instead is to apply a homely version of Tarskian semantics. I argue that Fine’s position depends on two deficient maxims, and therefore does not provide a compelling way out of the realist/antirealist dichotomy. Fine’s Maxim (FM) prohibits the possibility of inferring justified metaphysical theses from the truth-value of existence claims. Hilbert’s Maxim (HM) asserts that metatheoretic arguments are cogent only if they adhere to stricter standards than their constituent theories. I argue that (FM) is likely false, but even if true cannot be rationally believed. I further argue that (HM) is a deficient standard for theory justification due to the problem of infinite regress.
session 2
9. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 76
John J. Conley The Limits of Metaphysical Reason: Re-reading John Paul II
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Based on a close reading of Fides et Ratio and Salvifici Doloris, this paper argues that John Paul II challenges the power and range of metaphysical reason in certain neglected passages. Such challenges include the critique of the idolatry of philosophical systems, the emphasis on the irreducible mystery of God, and the rejection of efforts to construct a theodicy in the face of human suffering. The challenge especially emerges in John Paul II’s emphasis on the Cross as a stumbling block to metaphysical affirmation. Against certain rationalistic interpretations of the Pope, this paper attempts to excavate the critique of metaphysical reason embedded in John Paul II’s arguments on the limits of philosophical speculation.
session 3
10. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 76
Martin DeNys The Paradox at Reason’s Boundary
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Central to Kierkegaard’s account of religious existence is his critique of speculative reason. This critique begins with the distinction between subjective and objective reflection. Its most radical aspects appear in Kierkegaard’s discussions of the paradox. In spite of Kierkegaard’s frequent comments on this notion, it is not readily understood. I want to argue against a common reading of this notion and propose an alternative reading. This alternative reading allows for a conceptually quite plausible account of the manner in which the paradox presents reason with a boundary, in virtue of its relation to objective reflection and to subjective reflection as well. Because of this boundary, reason points beyond its own achievements to a domain of contemplation and appropriation. This is a domain that reason itself identifies in connection with the paradox. It both surpasses rational achievements and integrates them into itself.